Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Golf in The Olympic Games!

For the first time in more than a century, golf will be contested at the Summer Olympic Games. In 2016, the world's best golfers will travel to Rio for the chance at an Olympic Gold Medal. The last time that golf was an Olympic event was in 1904 at Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis. Glen Echo has a neat little article about the 1904 games on its website.

Gil Hanse has been chosen to design the 2016 Olympic Golf Course. To say that Gil Hanse has been involved in some amazing projects is an understatement. Just check out this list. Locally, Hanse designed the amazing Boston Golf Club in Hingham, and was involved in renovations and restorations of the best of the best in Massachusetts.

Several holes of the golf course to be built for the 2016 Olympics in Rio Janeiro will border the shore of Lake Marapendi – the long, skinny lake between the course and the barrier island. (Getty Images)
Hanse has a relatively small portfolio, but his obsession with excellence and passion for what he does helped him beat out names like Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman for the Olympic gig. He and his family moved to Rio in 2013 and he began working on site.

What he ran into is what I'm sure a lot of people who have lived and worked abroad can relate to - things are just different. The pace at which things get done is different. Add to the situation the fact that the golf course site is in an environmentally sensitive area, and progress was really slow going. But Gil and his crew pushed though and started making headway - by the end of last year, 16 holes had been shaped.

Check out this segment that aired on 'In Play with Jimmy Roberts' recently:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Championship sneak peek: Blue Hill Country Club

The Mid-Amateur is one of my favorite events of the season. It allows amateur golfers age 25 and up to compete for three days of stroke play without having to worry about competing against the best NCAA golfers who call Massachusetts home.

This year's Mid-Am will be held at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, a 27-hole facility located at the base of the scenic Blue Hills. Blue Hill has hosted the MGA Father & Son Championship, Junior Amateur Championship, and Mid-Amateur Championship in the past, and we are excited to get back there! The staff at BHCC sent us this write-up:

Since Near the Turn of the Century, Blue Hill Country Club Has Been One of New England’s Most Revered Golf Clubs

Playing host to a major championship golf event is no small feat for many country clubs. The golf course preparation, food and beverage execution, gallery concerns and attention to detail goes way beyond your typical member-guest or Club Championship. But, for Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, major tournament golf has been a way of life for the acclaimed private country club.

World-renowned for its pristine course conditions and overall playability, Blue Hill Country Club played host to the 1956 PGA Championship won by Jackie Burke, Jr. and also was the home golf course for seven years, from 1991-1997 for the PING/Welch’s Championship on the LPGA Tour. Players like Dottie Pepper, Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel have hoisted the championship trophy while playing at Blue Hill Country Club.

With a vibrant, rich and colorful legacy, Blue Hill Country Club has steadfastly embraced its near century-old roots and is proud of its status in a golf club community that has been cherished for generations.

Punctuated by a magnificent landscape, the member-owned private golf club features 27 holes of championship golf. Designed in 1925 by legendary architect, Eugene “Skip” Wogan, Blue Hill Country Club’s 18-hole Championship course, home of this year’s Massachusetts Mid-Amateur is challenging at every turn, yet rewarding in its design. Picturesque, tree-lined fairways and lush, rolling terrain makes every golf outing a memorable one. Located just 15 minutes outside of Boston, Blue Hill Country Club is situated at the base of Blue Hill, fittingly named for the bluish hue of its revealing granite faces.

In 1961, Skip Wogan’s son, Phil masterfully created a nine-hole layout called the Challenger course that has proven to be a demanding test of skill and a perfect addition to his Dad’s superbly-conditioned Championship course. Multiple tee boxes make a round of golf on all 27 holes enjoyable for players of all ages and skill levels.

The participants of the 2014 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur will tee it up on a golf course where some of the greats of the game have graced its fairways and greens. And, who knows, maybe there’s a player or two in this year’s Mass Mid-Am at Blue Hill who will go on and become a recognizable name in the sport like so many before him.

Blue Hill CC has a pretty great YouTube Channel - definitely worth checking out. And I hope that we run into Vinnie Del Zoppo during the Mid-Am, what a character!

The 2014 MGA Mid-Amateur Championship will take place from September 15-17. Learn more about the Mid-Am

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bedlam at Golf House!

Just over an hour ago, online registration opened up for the 2014 season of MGA Member Days. And we've already maxed out two sites and are close to filling a third! Things have been a little crazy around the office this morning. Reminds me of when I tried to buy tickets to see Billy Joel at Fenway and they sold out in 5 minutes! (not that I'm bitter or anything...)

Cape Cod National and Willowbend are full. We are doing a wait list for both sites, so contact us if you'd like to get in on that - (774) 430-9100. Renaissance is almost full. The rest of the sites are filling up quickly!

No wonder Member Days are so popular - look at these sites!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Championship sneak peek: The Golf Club at Turner Hill

We are only about two months away from the Four-Ball Championship, which opens our season. This event is a favorite of our members, and our biggest Championship, as nearly 400 golfers descend on the two host courses. This year, we make the trip up to the beautiful North Shore, as The Golf Club at Turner Hill and Ferncroft Country Club play host to this enormous tournament.

Turner Hill is gorgeous!. The club is centered around a 100+ year old mansion that underwent a restoration a few years ago. It is stunning.

From the Turner Hill website:
Completed in 1903, the mansion boasts hand-molded plaster ceilings, vivid wall friezes, gleaming oak hardwood floors, and hand-carved paneling, doors, and stairways. The reception hall's wildlife motifs and windows were modeled after Haddington Hall in Scotland. These features constitute a structural work of art that could rarely be replicated today.

At Turner Hill, the Rices raised their children and entertained their family and friends in grand style in the early 1900's. A young George Patton was a frequent guest of Turner Hill and once entertained party guests from the book ladder in the library.

In the late 1990's, developer Ted Raymond purchased the property with the intent of creating a golf course/residential development. The golf course was completed in 2004, but the economic downturn took its toll. The existing membership knew that they didn't want to see the golf course fall into disrepair, bought him out in 2007, and poured money into the renovation of the property, including the historic mansion.

To learn a little more about Turner Hill, check out this article in the Gloucester Times from 2010.

The Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship will take place from May 12-13. Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jim Renner carries his father's spirit with him at Pebble Beach

By Becky Blaeser

On Jim Renner's official PGA Tour page, he notes that his finish at the 2001 Massachusetts Amateur Championship is his biggest thrill in golf.

That statement comes as no surprise to anyone who was fortunate enough to be at The Orchards Golf Course that week. Jim, who was coming off his junior year of high school at the time, did not win, but he earned friends and fans who follow his career to this day.

A young Jim Renner at the '01 Mass Am
Despite being one of the stronger junior amateur players of that time (he won the Optimist International Championship at age 15 and finished eighth in the same event at age 14 and 16), Jim was a dark horse at the 2001 Mass Amateur and very few would have guessed that the youngster would push veteran and eventual champion Brendan Hester in that final 36-hole match.

That runner-up finish in 2001 set the stage for what has turned into a strong professional career that hit a crescendo at Pebble Beach. He went on to capture the 2005 New England Amateur Championship and then returned home – as a professional – to capture the 2008 Massachusetts Open Championship at Stockbridge Golf Course, among many other State Open titles.

One person who was most certainly with Jim in spirit at Pebble Beach was his father “Buck”, who passed away in August of 2012.

Buck Renner was a member at the Foxborough Country Club where he won the club championship in 1985 and again in 1988. He also won the Attleboro Area Golf Association Open in 1983 and was inducted into the AAGA Hall of Fame in 1994. His impact on the local level was unmatched and will never be forgotten.
A few years later, en route to the '08 Mass Open Championship

In Buck’s obituary it was written that he “was never any prouder than of his son Jim Renner, the former Bishop Feehan High and Bryant University standout, currently playing on the pro tour.”

In honor of his father, Jim and his family started the John “Buck’ Renner Scholarship Fund. The goal of the fund is to help a student golfer from either King Phillip High School or Bishop Feehan High School further their education. The scholarship emblem is proudly on display on Jim’s PGA Tour bag.

The bond between Jim and Buck is just one example of how the path to success is never a solitary journey. It seems only fitting to re-read this compelling article which appeared on the Golf Channel web site in September of 2012.

It talked about how the loss of their fathers connected Jim Renner and Jon Curran – another Bay State native who is making a name for himself in professional golf circles – and it is a story that everyone should read.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

File under: I love it!

This week at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, check out this foursome:

a-Bill Belichick
a-Tom Brady
James Driscoll
Ricky Barnes

I wonder if Gisele chose that outfit

We know about James Driscoll and his Boston roots. Do you think he's freaking out that he gets to hang out with Tom Brady? Because I probably would be (and by freaking out I mean probably fainting or making a complete fool of myself). Although, Mr. Driscoll seems like a pretty calm probably not. 

Did you also know that Ricky Barnes' father was a punter for the Patriots in the 1970's? Weird!

I wonder what Coach Belichick's golf personality is like...

I KNOW Gisele didn't choose that outfit.
From Golf Writer Emily Kay:

Brady, who plays to an 8-handicap, will stroll the fairways with Ricky Barnes, whose father Bruce played for the Pats back in the 1970s. Belichick, meanwhile, drew Massachusetts native and Boston sports junkie James Driscoll as his mate in the four-day event.
Driscoll, who grew up in Brookline and maintains a residence in Boston, learned the tools of his trade at Charles River Country Club, where he won the club championship. The former Massachusetts junior and state amateur champ played in Belichick’s foursome last year and Coach teamed up with Barnes in the past two Pebble pro-am tilts, according to the Boston Herald.
Under this week’s format, pro-am teams play a round at all three venues -- Pebble, Monterey Peninsula (Shore Course), and Spyglass Hill. The top 60 pros (and ties), as well as the top 25 pro-am teams tee off at Pebble in Sunday’s final round. The fabled foursome will kick off at 11:22 a.m. ET at Spyglass Hill on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Championship sneak peek: Nashawtuc Country Club

It's pretty nice to be a junior golfer in Massachusetts. Just think of some of the venues that have hosted the Junior Amateur Championship - Essex County Club, Oakley Country Club, Brae Burn, Wyantenuck - just to name a few. This year is no different. A select group of talented junior golfers will have the privilege of playing the Championship this year at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord.

Nashawtuc was established in 1960, which makes it a baby in our 2014 Championship lineup. It was designed by Geoffrey Cornish, and was founded by seven friends who stumbled upon the idea of building their own golf course:

“It was a beautiful morning in February of 1957 when I joined two friends and fellow Concord Rotarians, Ted Beharrell and Nick Deraney, at the Bobby Jones Municipal Golf Course in Sarasota, Florida. After placing a golf ball in the “tee-time rack”, we proceeded to wait, and wait, then wait some more. Since this was the second such occurrence, I believe it may have been the catalyst that produced the off-hand remark that became history. That remark, made by Nick Deraney, went something like this: ‘When we get home, we can avoid this nonsense by building our own golf course.’ A few weeks later, I indeed got a call from Nick reminding me of our Florida conversation. He said he was really serious. Ted was on board, and I was too!"

I guess it's that easy??

Did you know that Chi Chi Rodriguez, Tom Kite, and Allen Doyle hold the Championship course record? Most of you probably know that Nashawtuc hosted the Bank of America Championship, which was part of the Champions Tour, for 26 years. Some pretty big names won that tournament: Rodriguez, Hale Irwin, Jeff Sluman, and Norwood's own Doyle, among others.

Will defending Champion Paul Lei make it two in a row? Will this be Steven Dilisio's year? Will Nick Cummings make a splash in his first year out of the Boys Division? We'll see you all at the scenic Nashawtuc Country Club from July 28-30. Learn more about the MGA Junior Amateur Championship